'Nothing' and the universe

Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek to talk about ‘materiality of a vacuum’ at ASU Origins Project event

January 24, 2017

Arizona State University’s Origins Project is hosting a lecture by Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek, where he will discuss the “Materiality of a Vacuum: Late Night Thoughts of a Physicist” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

In modern physics, scientists have found that it is fruitful to regard empty space, or a vacuum, as a sort of material, which can have within it exotic properties like superconductivity. Conversely, materials can be viewed from the inside and the vacua of alternative worlds, which often have exotic, mind-expanding properties. These ideas suggest new possibilities for cosmology and bring to life the profound question: What is a universe? Wilczek’s lecture will be followed by a conversation with Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project. Nobel Laureat Frank Wilczek will discuss the role of nothing in our universe in an Origins Project-sponsored lecture on Jan. 31. Photo by Justin Knight Photography Download Full Image

“It is one of the most remarkable aspects of modern physics that the properties of our universe, with 100 billion galaxies each containing 100 billion stars, turns out to crucially depend on the properties of empty space,” said Krauss. “In this sense, ‘everything’ is determined by ‘nothing.’ Understanding how this comes about gives us a unique new perspective on our place in the universe. There are few people more capable of relating these new ideas than Frank Wilczek, who himself played a seminal role in discovering them.”

Wilczek is the Herman Feshbach professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he is an Origins Project distinguished professor at ASU. He received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2004 for his work on asymptotic freedom in the theory of strong interaction.

Krauss is an author, professor, physicist and public intellectual. In addition to being director of the Origins Project, Krauss is an ASU professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and in the Department of Physics.

Tickets for “Materiality of a Vacuum: Late Night Thoughts of a Physicist” are $7 and $17. ASU students can obtain free tickets (two tickets per student ID to be picked up the venue box office) for the event. A book signing and pizza will follow the event.

The Tempe Center for the Arts box office is located at 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, or call 480-350-2822.

For more information on Origins events, please go to www.origins.asu.edu or call (480) 965-0053.

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


ASU establishing professorship in honor of late Sue Clark-Johnson

January 24, 2017

Arizona State University is creating an endowed professorship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in honor of Sue Clark-Johnson, the newspaper executive, journalism pioneer and ASU professor who died two years ago this month.

The Sue Clark-Johnson Media Innovation and Leadership Professorship will drive innovations within Cronkite News, the student-produced, faculty-supervised news division of Arizona PBS, and create new, multidisciplinary collaborations with other ASU colleges and external partners. Clark-Johnson was the former president of the Gannett Newspaper Division and former publisher of The Arizona Republic. Sue Clark-Johnson Cronkite School ASU is creating an endowed professorship at the Cronkite School in honor of Sue Clark-Johnson, who died two years ago this month. The ASU professor was also the former president of the Gannett Newspaper Division and former publisher of The Arizona Republic. Download Full Image

“Sue Clark-Johnson was a pioneer and one of the leading thinkers in news media who embraced bold innovation,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “This endowed professorship will carry on Sue’s values and vision and preserve her extraordinary legacy.”

Louis A. “Chip” Weil, former Arizona Republic publisher and a close friend of Clark-Johnson, is leading the fundraising efforts. The Clark-Johnson Professorship already has received significant funding from her husband, Brooks Johnson, and friends as well as APS, where she served as a board member. The Cronkite School is working to complete the endowment and appoint a faculty member to the new professorship this fall.

“Sue was passionate about the news business. She believed providing people the information to make informed choices could bring about real, positive change,” Johnson said. “Technology has altered the way news is delivered, but the need for factual, dispassionate reporting remains unchanged. I hope this professorship will help find new ways to keep traditional journalism alive.”

Clark-Johnson served as a professor of practice at the Cronkite School from 2010 until her death in January 2015. She was a driving force behind the creation of the school’s New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, which brings students from across the university to the Cronkite School to develop cutting-edge digital products for media and other companies. She also pioneered the school’s partnership with Chyron Corp., an innovative digital broadcast graphics products and services company, to bring a new graphics management system to the school.

Clark-Johnson also was the director of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU, where she created the State of Our State Conference, which has become an annual signature event featuring reports, panels and interactive discussions on Arizona’s key challenges and opportunities.

Clark-Johnson joined Morrison in May 2009 after retiring as president of the Gannett Newspaper Division a year earlier. She worked for 41 years in a variety of news and executive leadership roles with the company, which owns about 85 daily U.S. newspapers, including serving as publisher of The Arizona Republic for five years.

Clark-Johnson previously served as senior group president of Gannett's Pacific Newspaper Group with oversight responsibility for 32 companies throughout the West, including Hawaii and Guam.

Her newspaper career included leadership positions at Gannett newspapers in Niagara Falls and Binghamton, New York, as well as in Reno, Nevada. She also served a term as chair of the Newspaper Association of America.

The Sue Clark-Johnson Media Innovation and Leadership Professor will join the Cronkite School’s five other endowed chairs and professorships: the Knight Chair in Journalism, occupied by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Doig; the Weil Family Professor of Journalism, held by former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr.; the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair in Business Journalism, held by business journalism leader Andrew Leckey; the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Visiting Professor in Business Journalism, held by former CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz; and the Frank Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism, occupied by former Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor-in-chief and Cox Media Group Ohio executive Julia Wallace.